Crawl Your Way Through Culture in Downtown Johnstown
The Downtown Johnstown Culture Crawl was inspired by a trip to Pittsburgh’s Art Crawl in 2016, by Mike Messina and his partner Lorraine Bezy. “We really wanted to replicate the event someday in downtown Johnstown.” Five years later, their vision is manifesting in the first ever Downtown Johnstown Culture Crawl, on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 6 to 10 p.m. The diversity of downtown Johnstown’s cultural activities will be showcased in an evening alive with opportunities to participate in creative activities, many related to Banned Book Week. The event will prove what many know: within just a few short blocks, downtown Johnstown offers a wide range of interesting things for the curious who care to find it. During the Downtown Johnstown Culture Crawl, participating stores and organizations will create amazing opportunities to hear and read poetry, see art exhibits, hear live music, read from banned books, play games, and enjoy an evening stroll through downtown.
Gazebo Place will be very busy during the Culture Crawl. Chameleon Books is inviting the public to read their favorite poem, out loud. Poetry Slam participants will be throwing down in the street, right on Gazebo Place. Gallery on Gazebo will be alive with music and art, showing watercolor paintings by Barbara Srrank Zivkovic in the gallery. Rachel Allen and Lila Samuels will take turns performing live music in the outdoor Piazza. They will also be on hand to discuss their important work in the community including the Lila’s Healing Garden Art Park and the humanitarian endeavors of the Unity Coalition. H. Wonder, the Gallery’s in-house coffee enterprise, will be open till 9 PM creating comfort drinks and food. G.A.R. Post 30, a valued historic site, will offer timed tours of the building and artifacts and Creator Square will be open for tours of the facility, with Makers-in-Residence Taylor Fentz and V. Ondra on hand to show visitors their work. Architect and artist Paul Rosenblatt, Creator Square’s Founding Director, will be downstairs to welcome visitors, discuss the residency’s goals, answer questions about residency opportunities — and play some vintage vinyl from his collection!
On Main Street, businesses are opening their doors, with plenty of opportunities to experience Johnstown’s culture. The State Theater will open its doors from 7 to 8.30 PM. Eric Reighard, the State Theater Foundation's Executive Director and steward of it’s renovation, will give a guided tour of the theater. Reighard will be accompanied by a violin duet featuring Swana Chepaitis, of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra. The duo will perform in multiple locations, including the historic balcony. Their performance from the stage will be a lively prelude to public readings from banned books that were made into movies. The public is encouraged to come listen and then read aloud on this free tour. If you plan to take the State Theater tour, please be prepared for lots of walking and stairs.
The Cambria County Public Library is featuring a poster exhibition of the winning poets from the contest sponsored by Pitt-Johnstown Communi-Teams and the Johnstown Branch of the NAACP in celebration of Juneteenth. The library will be inviting participants to create their own page about banned books, for a community zine that will be assembled and then made available. The library will be showing short films related to banned books and have displays of books on all three floors. They will have a place for making buttons with images and quotes from banned books and other engaging activities for all ages.
Classic Elements will be open for this special event and will be featuring original art by local artists in a variety of mediums in their gallery! Classic Elements will also be featuring music by local musicians Charles Kupchella and Jim Kupchella. They will have a selection of banned books on display which may be purchased that evening. Feel free to grab a banned book and the microphone and do a reading. While you’re there, ask for instructions about how to visit Sharyn Spinelli’s flat, on the 3rd floor. She will be opening her home during the event, to share a recently completed mural.
ArtHouse6 at the corner of Walnut and Locust Streets will be open for tours of the facility, including the artists studios and galleries. Arrive to ArtHouse6 to the sounds of Music on Deck! Charisa The ViolinDiva will serenade you from the second floor from 7 to 10 pm. Inside the gallery is a show of forged and fabricated metalwork reflecting the diverse and evolving state of blacksmithing today. The exhibit was curated by Touchstone Center for Crafts. Marcene Glover will be on hand to answer questions about residency opportunities, and ArtHouse6 programming in the historic house.